NYMC Faculty Publications

Stress (Takotsubo) Cardiomyopathy: A Review of Its Pathophysiology, Manifestations, and Factors That Affect Prognosis

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Cardiology in Review

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Review Article

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Stress (Takotsubo) cardiomyopathy (SC) is becoming an increasingly recognized syndrome, previously underdiagnosed due to its similar presentation to acute coronary syndrome (ACS). With advancements in imaging and diagnostic tools, our ability to recognize, diagnose and subsequently manage SC has advanced as well. Multiple diagnostic criteria have been created for the diagnosis of SC. While the diagnosis of SC does not always require imaging, advanced imaging can aid in the diagnosis of SC in unclear cases. However, due to the severity of ACS and the consequences of missing that diagnosis, SC is still typically a diagnosis of exclusion once ACS has been ruled out on cardiac catheterization. Our understanding of the pathogenesis of SC is still evolving. While catecholamine surges are widely believed to be the precipitating cause of SC, the exact mechanism for how catecholamine surges lead to ventricular dysfunction is still being debated. Understanding the mechanism behind ventricular dysfunction in SC can potentially provide the basis for treatment. Different stressors may lead to different variants of cardiomyopathy, with different portions of the ventricles affected. Treatment of SC is largely supportive and therefore should be tailored to the patient's individual needs based on the severity of presentation. Both the underlying stressor and the variant of SC affect time to recovery and mortality. Many patient factors can impact prognosis as well. Even after initial hospital discharge for SC, long-term risks do exist, including the risk for recurrent SC. Only angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors have been shown to reduce the recurrence of SC.